I love Michael Morpurgo’s novel War Horse and was delighted to find that a picture book version makes the wonderful story accessible to younger readers.
Albert and Joey were the best of friends. Spending their days together working on the farm, life was simply wonderful. But then the war came. Struggling for money and the prospect of losing the family farm, Albert’s father secretly sells Joey to the army. Distraught and angry, Albert does the only thing he can do, he signs up to the army. With war raging all around him, he begins an epic battle all of his own to find his beloved horse and bring him safely back home…
War Horse tells the incredible adventures of Albert and Joey throughout World War One. It is a powerful and tear-jerking story of an unbreakable friendship and a boy willing to go to extraordinary lengths to be reunited with his best friend.
War is horrendous and can be a very difficult topic for many readers. Together, Morpurgo and Tom Clohosy Cole do an exceptional job of bringing the atrocities of war to a younger audience. Morpurgo’s stripped-back narrative is accompanied by sweeping landscapes from Cole that capture the life of a soldier and of a war horse. Readers get to witness and experience the soldiers training for battle, the camaraderie between comrades and life in the trenches and on the battlefield. Readers may find some scenes disturbing as explosions and No Man’s Land show the terrible consequences of war.
Whilst this may all sound very dramatic it is perfectly pitched to its young audience and allows them to imagine what war was like without becoming frightening or traumatic. Young readers will be delighted with the ending that sees Albert and Joey reunited in an emotionally charged scene on the battlefield.
A beautiful picture book filled with courage, bravery and never-ending hope.
Recommended for 7+.